Dear Friends & Neighbors,
I write to you today with a progress report of our most recent work in opposition to the proposed 23 story high rise on Bissonnet and Ashby in Southampton.
Last week, I met again with representatives from the Fire Department, the Planning Department, Public Works and Engineering Department, and representatives of Mayor Bill White, Council Members Brown, Lovell and Berry to discuss possible limitations on the proposed development due to the Houston Fire Code. The Fire Department mandates fire sprinklers and pressurized stairwells for high-rise buildings and the Fire Marshall has expressed his opinion that delivery of fire service will not be limited. But the Fire Marshall is reserving a final determination until plans are presented to the department. We will continue to pursue this issue as well as others listed below.
Also, last week the Public Works & Engineering Department installed a “No Thru Trucks” sign at Ashby and Bissonnet. This will ensure that no matter what kind of development eventually occurs at 1717 Bissonnet, Ashby will not be open to thru truck traffic, protecting this small residential roadway from cut-thru traffic by commercial trucks in either direction.
While Buckhead Investments has been issued sewer disconnect permits for some buildings at the current property, a hold has been put on all other permits. No permit will be issued for any of the 15 addresses of the buildings at 1717 Bissonnet without approval by Deputy Public Works & Engineering Director Andy Icken and a removal of the hold by the Senior Assistant Director of Code Enforcement or an IT representative. A plan examiner or a customer service representative cannot remove the hold.
In addition to the Traffic Impact Analysis & Access Management Ordinance, the Mayor and Council are working on an ordinance that will specifically address increased density on 2-lane streets, which hopefully will be on the City Council agenda before the end of the month.
Public Works & Engineering has informed me that the contractor who did the sewer line work on Dunlavy has been told to submit his schedule for the restoration of the street to its preexisting condition. The restoration may begin as early as the first week of November.
I know that Southampton Civic Club & BOCA are organizing a group to speak before City Council at Public Session on Tuesday, October 30th about this issue and its potential impact on our area and future impacts throughout the city. I encourage you to attend and voice your concerns and speak to the need for City Council to quickly enact ordinances that protect our residential neighborhoods throughout our great city. If you would like to speak before City Council at any Tuesday afternoon public session please contact the City Secretary’s office at 713.247.1840 to sign up.
I will continue to keep you posted as developments occur. In the mean time, should you wish to volunteer to help stop this development, then you may contact the Southampton Civic Club and BOCA representatives who are coordinating the neighborhood effort through their website: www.StopAshbyHighRise.org.
Houston City Council Member, District C
City Hall Annex
900 Bagby Street, 1st Floor
Houston, TX 77002